Over the last 12 hours, the instant reaction from the Royal Rumble has been pretty much what I expected, as it's pretty much the reaction of any PPV when the "it" guy loses or John Cena wins anything; the guy couldn't win a pie-eating contest without pissing people off. There's a pocket of the fanbase that's really upset, as usual, but I'm not going to tell them why they're wrong to feel that way, as that's incredibly stale too, instead, I'm going to make you feel better. This is a different kind of wrestling psychology, so hop on the couch.
Throughout Meltdown #4875, I've seen a lot of people, particularly those within the industry or its immediate boundary, use a common argument: "Hey, IWC guy, WWE doesn't book for you, you're not the mainstream," which was a fair point in 2002, but I don't think it's really relevant anymore. In the age of Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger (yes, some of us still use Blogger, dick), YouTube, Tout (okay, no one uses Tout), Pinterest, Facebook, etc., all wrestling fans are the "Internet Wrestling Community" now. How far they go down the rabbit hole is up to them, but you can't send a wrestling Tweet without being exposed to "those types."
And I don't think it's true that WWE doesn't book for the internet crowd, even the mega nerds like myself. Do they cater to your every whim? No, and when they do, we get Zack Ryder, and that was totally our fault and we should feel bad for it. But perhaps it's time to start looking at booking decisions a little differently?
A tweet from my tag team partner, Jason Mann, got me thinking today:
I enjoy a sporting event more when I can just enjoy the game and not care who wins. Same for wrestling. Is this unusual?
I'm not going to tell you to abandon your favorite wrestlers and just watch the damn show, but WWE isn't booking the 49ers vs. the Ravens, they're taking you on a journey. Their entire model, as it has been throughout the modern era, is to tell you a story, and not all stories have happy endings. In the 80s, that meant Ted DiBiase buying the WWE Title, in the 90s, the nefarious Vince McMahon made his employee's life hell, but now that we're all in on the game, they have to think a little outside the box.
We're all pretty much in agreement that people cheer for whoever they want to nowadays, right? I think Rock vs. Punk is the most evenly divided crowd I've heard since Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior, so you're not cheering for who they "want" you to cheer for. Is it possible that WWE is booking with that in mind? Not every story is about your happy ending, or a happy ending at all. Some of the best stories have total downer endings and if that's how you view CM Punk's historic reign coming to an end, congratulations, you provided WWE with an emotional reaction, which is what they want... and maybe that's okay.
Maybe it's okay to be pissed when your guy loses or the guy you hate wins, that can be healthy. When it becomes ridiculous is when you allow that anger to overshadow a great show, like what's happening with last night's Rumble. It was a fantastic PPV, two solid opening matches, one of the best Rumbles in years and an awesome main event, don't let the fact that the story didn't cater to your specific tastes ruin what was a fun three-hour journey.
And that's not to say there's no such thing as a bad ending, and last night may have provided them, but the difference between WWE and a movie or TV show is the ending might not be when you think it is.